The G-FluX Readme File!

15 09 2008

Kinan Debes is the name, and GFX Studios is the dream!

My dream job is Game Programming. And my ultimate life target is to open up my own game development studio. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s why they’re called dreams. And I have every intention and desire to make my dream come true.

If you feel you can help me get where I want to go, in whatever way possible (suggestions, notes, recommendations, contacts, or even discussions…) please drop me a note. Your help is invaluable to me, and will be much appreciated.

More about me, plus contact information, in the About page.

Thanks, and welcome to G-FluX (The blog about the dream!).


Answering de Mistura’s Call

1 02 2016

A couple of days ago, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura recorded a message to the women, men and children of Syria, ahead of the Intra-Syrian Talks at UN Geneva. And I answered his call on Facebook with the following message:

I appreciate your call Mr. Staffan, and being a Syrian citizen myself, I am more than happy to respond with my wishes for the new Syria from my point of view:
1. I want a secular Syria where all citizens are treated equally and fairly by law, where no person will be judged or tried based on their religion or beliefs.
2. I want an independent country that doesn’t become a US puppet or a NATO slave, with a firm foreign policy that works actively on getting the occupied Golan heights back from Israel (something that the UN has failed to resolve since 1967 with the security council resolution 242), and that stands side by side with the Palestinians to establish their own independent country.
3. I want a democracy that is based on merit, not on religion. Democracy that grows from the inside by the Syrians themselves, not the US-enforced model of democracy in Iraq or Libya, nor the KSA-sponsored Lebanese model that splits the government based on the country’s religious sects! So no, a Sunni president is not an acceptable solution just because they represent the major religious sect, nor is any other president chosen solely based on their religion.

And now, I will tell you why these 3 seemingly basic points will never come true, no matter how much we say “khalas” or “kefaya”:
1. How can the so-called “Syrian representatives” in Geneva agree on secularism when the opposition members were basically elected by Saudi Arabia, the notoriously religious kingdom? And where Erdogan, the self-proclaimed Ottoman emperor (in power for 13 years and counting) with a shameful record of tyranny and oppression is also the number one sponsor of some of the extremist rebel group, and actively supports them with the aid of the Turkish army?
2. How can Syria ever be independent and get back its occupied territories when the primary sponsor of the current “representatives” and negotiations is the United States (Israel’s bodyguards)? When did anything good ever come from a US sponsored solution anyway?!
3. How can we ever have a proper democracy when the so-called “revolutionists” and “moderate rebels” are fighting based on a religious agenda supported and armed by countries such as the KSA, Qatar, and Turkey? And they even have “representatives” speaking on their behalf in Geneva!

So, you see sir, we’re not the solution, and we’ll never become the solution as long as Syria is being played by a bunch of hypocrite politicians, warlords, and arm dealers who seek nothing but profit and political gains. So my suggestion for you is to turn to those people instead and tell them to quit their hypocrisy and fix their own countries before trying to fix Syria, and get their filthy hands out of it. They’re the ones fueling the war and they’re the ones with the power to end it, not us.
Best of luck in your impossible mission.
(Hint: Do as Kofi Annan did and save face before it’s too late. The UN is incapacitated beyond repair at this point)

A comment on recent incidents at refugee centers in Sweden

28 01 2016

It saddens me to hear about these events in Sweden. I believe those crimes should be punishable by law, and yes, being a refugee or a “traumatized” person doesn’t give you the right to violate the law.
Just like any other human society, I expect that there will always be a certain percentage of criminals or violent people. And as long as they are treated fairly according to the law, their existence doesn’t surprise me. A crime is a crime, whether it was committed by a “refugee” or a “Swede”, so please don’t blame it on the wrong reasons.

And that’s why I want to talk about this, because I’m reading a lot of controversial comments on news articles blaming multiculturalism, society, or the government, and I just want to put my opinion out there because this subject concerns me as a Syrian living in Sweden.

I do understand why people get angry and frustrated, because yes, basically the taxpayers are the hosts -and supporters- of those refugees, and it definitely hurts to be treated badly by someone you just helped rescue.
What I can’t understand however is blaming multiculturalism, and I can relate to this from personal experience. Had we adopted this kind of ideology in Syria we wouldn’t have gone as far as fighting each other, regardless of how dire the circumstances were. We gradually lost our cultural variety (due to multiple reasons that I won’t go into) and thus our tolerance and understanding toward each other, and I would argue that this was one of the reasons we got into a civil war.

I believe there are lessons to be learned from a multicultural society, one of them is learning to respect and treat people as humans rather than skin color, gender, religion, or country of origin. I’m using the word “learning” here because this is a very long process that will never be achieved at 100%, and although the concept sounds too ideal, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for.
We used to brag a lot about how culturally diverse our society was, but we failed to support it. It was a slippery slope, as we slowly start distrusting your co-workers, neighbors, or even friends or family, and now we reached a point where we can’t even tolerate a difference in opinion, much less anything else! So where would you draw the line here? You start with present-time refugees, then move on to 1st generation Swedes? 2nd generation? 3rd? And then what?

And hence this is my plea for Sweden, don’t abandon what you have slowly built all these years. I believe “The People’s Home” is a concept well worth nurturing, especially at this advanced stage. To lose diversity (cultural or otherwise) I believe would be a social regression that might create much bigger problems in the future. And again, I’m only saying this because I have experienced living in a mono-cultured society, and I can tell you it’s much worse than you might think.

New Programs Added to Labs Page!

20 10 2010

Today, I uploaded some of my old programs to the Labs page:

A Bejeweled clone game, and a Mastermind clone game.

A screenshot of Jewels, the Bejeweled clone.

GFX Bejeweled Screenshot

A screenshot of GFX Mastermind game.

GFX Mastermind Screenshot

And my old “HIT” program, intuitively called Kinnectica MP3 Player, it’s basically a compact MP3 player that you can dock to your desktop and save some valuable screen space while you’re listening to your favorite tunes.

A screenshot of Kinnectica 2 MP3 Player

Kinnectica 2 MP3 Player Screenshot

I’m so excited to bring my old work back to life, and I hope you’ll like this new batch of programs from GFX Studios. They’re all freeware of course 😛


GFX Solitaire 0.5 Released!

19 10 2010

So, after the long exhausting rewrite, I released GFX Solitaire on the web today! And here’s a screenshot of this beauty:

A Screenshot of GFX Solitaire

GFX Solitaire Screenshot

You can download it from the dedicated GFX Solitaire web page on this blog.

The core changes are not visible to the user. The only visible changes are some UI tweaks, and enhanced handling of mouse events. And I’ve included the usual surprise at the end of the game, so you can enjoy your victory 😉

I hope you like it, and please remember to provide your feedback on this game. You can find my contact information in the About page.

Enjoy the new game, I know I did! 😛

The Rewrite of GFX Solitaire

14 10 2010

The rewrite project started when I began the work on a Hearts game that uses the Solitaire code. I began working on the design for the new game, and realized soon enough that I’m gonna have to write the new game from zero, because I couldn’t find any re-usable code from the previous game!

Let’s be honest, GFX Solitaire was written so fast, that I didn’t notice how messy the code was! I was just rushing it out, and trying to finish it before my exams. My goal was to write my first game in XNA as fast as I could. The result was a messy code, with almost no classes whatsoever! The whole game was written in a single class file, and it was written in a way that could only be used for Solitaire and no other card game. And, the obvious problem was that the code didn’t allow for much future improvements to the game, leading to huge difficulties when trying to update some parts of it.

So I had 2 options: Either start the new game from scratch with an OOP design, or re-write Solitaire with a new Object Oriented code, and reuse it to write the new game. The latter option was the best in my opinion, because I wanted to keep the Solitaire in my development queue, and be able to release new versions and update it when necessary, and more importantly, I wanted to keep the game in my professional portfolio as a fully developed game with a clear design, and reusable elements.

So, I started the re-writing of Solitaire about 10 days ago. My goal this time was to write the game in OOP style. I wanted the code to be organized and usable. And now it’s almost complete. I had some problems trying to get a clear view of the classes needed for this particular game with a focus on re-usability for future card games which obviously share the same elements (card, deck, hand, etc…). One more thing I was thinking of was clear separation of functions between the game elements (classes), and it was tough to decide how to do that, because OOP in games is actually a bit different from other kinds of software: in games there’s a game loop, which obviously needs to access each and every sprite drawn on the screen. Also, games are not event driven applications, so you’ll need to write and handle your own events, which could get a bit tricky as it turned when designing the mouse interface.

Anyway, I reached a decision to stop looking for a perfect design, and work instead towards writing a working OOP design which could be used for other card games. And I was able to get some really impressive results, considering that this is my first time tackling this challenge! I was impressed with the code, which actually led to improvements of the original Solitaire with additional animations, and more control over the cards on the table.

So, I’m happy to announce a new version of GFX Solitaire, based on the new code with some more features and tweaks. The new version is now in final beta, and will be released when I finish ironing things and squashing some bugs. This time I will release it to major freeware sites in order to get more spread and more feedback. I hope people will like what I did.

After releasing GFX Solitaire, I’m planning to start the work on GFX Hearts, as it brings some more design and coding challenges (with my first AI implementation ever), and it should be quickly out of the way now that I can use some elements from Solitaire. So, if you’re interested in the project stay tuned for the final release, and some more posts on game design challenges.

Guess What’s Coming Back!

5 10 2010
Microsoft Flight Title Screenshot

Welcome back! Microsoft Flight.

At Gamescom 2010 last August, Microsoft announced the revival of the Flight Simulator series with a new product called “Microsoft Flight”!

This comes as wonderful surprise following the sad news of the ACES studio closure last January. Apparently Microsoft decided to bring the series back. But this time, it will be developed by Microsoft’s own Game Studios.

Here’s an excerpt from the official press announcement:

… Microsoft also announced the development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new entry inspired by the best-selling “Microsoft Flight Simulator” franchise. Published by Microsoft Game Studios …

“Today, we’re bringing powerful, inventive gaming experiences to the Windows-based PC,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “Over the years, our PC heritage captured the hearts and minds of millions of players. Reinventing these iconic franchises with social, shared experiences at their core marks the beginning of our return to PC gaming in bold new ways.”

Twenty-eight years after the debut of “Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0,” Microsoft Game Studios also announced the internal development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new Windows exclusive. “Microsoft Flight” will bring a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans, to experience the magic of flight.

No details are announced at this moment, as Microsoft seems to be starting a long-running marketing campaign for the new game. And will uncover details as time passes, but I’m guessing that it’s going to be a long-time before they start announcing features and specifics about them. The only official info available is the official website. There’s a couple of teaser videos and a FAQ page that doesn’t actually reveal much!

Anyway, here are my thoughts about the new product:

I am worried about 2 facts: The removal of the word “Simulator” from the title, and the “new perspective” issue in the press announcement. Most fans are worried that this product will bring an end to the simulation factor that we loved in the previous products (FS9 and FSX). I am sure MS will not do this, because the simulation is a core feature that they cannot abandon, especially after the long running development time spent on older products.

At the start of the development cycle of “Microsoft Flight” MS already has the code for a highly detailed flight simulation engine (flight model), and an accurate scenery database that covers the whole world, and most of its airports. In addition to many 3rd party addons and a HUGE fan base. So, my guess is that MS will only concentrate on the following features while leaving the simulation part intact:

– A revamped graphics engine, supporting all major rendering technologies. Which will probably result in a loss of backward compatibility.

– A more versatile Missions engine, with an integrated mission editor.

– Multiplayer enhancements.

– Some sort of an arcade mode, which actively reduces realism factors and makes the game much easier for beginners (i.e. H.A.W.X.).

Anyway, no matter how things go, I am so excited about this announcement, and can’t wait to get a hands-on experience!